Dictionary of Oblate Values  vol.: 1  let.: D

DARING

INTRODUCTION

"Nil linquendum est inausum ut proferatur imperium Christi...", states the text of the Preface of our Constitutions and Rules of 1826. As a literal translation, I suggest: "We must overlook nothing, leaving nothing undared to advance, to extend the reign of Christ". This apothegm has sustained and presently sustains the missionary thrust of the Congregation; it is the key aphorism around which to build a reflection on daring, a daring more often lived than expressed in words.
Paradoxically, research in Oblate writings yields a meager disappointing harvest. The apothegm does not seem to have been used again by Eugene de Mazenod and the word "daring" is absent from the theme index of his writings. We had to wait until Father Léo Deschâtelets became Superior General in 1947 for this formulation to be singled out as a constituent element of the Oblate missionary existence. In addition to that, daring was not chosen as a subject for an article either in the Dictionnaire de Théologie catholique, or in the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité. As for New Testament references, in nineteen occurrences of the root word tolmaô, only two or three reflect a possible interest for us - and those in the writings of Saint Paul [1]. [2]This raises the question of how to delimit this theme.
But it is praxis, history, and therefore life, more than verbal formulations that reveal daring. Written tradition is mostly inadequate to express lived experience. Eugene de Mazenod and his Oblates did not spend their time theorizing; they were missionaries brimming with daring to extend the reign of Christ. These daring practices can only be alluded to; it would take volumes to adequately describe them. And yet, it is those very practices that lie at the heart of a study of daring. For the proclamation of the Gospel is "a demonstration of the Spirit and of power" entrusted to creatures in "weakness and even fear and in great trembling..". as Saint Paul experienced it. [3]


[1] 2 Corinthians 10:2; Philippians 1:14; Romans 5:7
[2] See 1 Corinthians 2:3-5
[3] "Constitutions et Règles de la Société des Missionnaires de Provence", first French manu in Missions, 78 (1951), p. 15-19.

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